Walks

Coast to Coast walk: www.wainwright.org.uk Devised by Alfred Wainwright, this 192 mile (307km) walk links St Bees Head near Whitehaven and Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. It goes through three national parks. 

Cockshott Point near Bowness. Watch the world and the steamers go by from this little promontory, south west of Bowness Bay. It’s a short initial stroll along Glebe Road from the promenade and then when the road bears round to the left a footpath takes you across the field to Cockshott Point. Stop and look across to Belle Isle and Claife Heights before making your way a bit further along the water’s edge. Return to Bowness via Rectory Road, crossing Glebe Road on the way. The round trip is about one and a half miles (2.4km).

The Dales Way: www.dalesway.org An 80 mile (128km) route between Ilkley in West Yorkshire and Bowness-on-Windermere. 

Fairfield Horseshoe, north of Ambleside. This is one of the best known horseshoe walks of the Lake District, bagging eight summits in about 11 miles (17.7km) of walking. If you want to get the steep bit over first it’s probably best to start at Rydal and then head for Nab Scar and Heron Pike. Otherwise begin your walk at Ambleside and make for High Sweden Bridge (via Kirkstone Road and Sweden Bridge Lane), due north of the town. The route to Fairfield itself takes you to Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag (turn north west here) and Hart Crag on the way. Fairfield has a fairly flat top but watch out in mist and low cloud because there are steep sides to the north and west. Return via Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar. You can drop down to Rydal and come back to Ambleside through Rydal Park. Allow 6/7 hours.

Gummer’s How near Newby Bridge. As with Orrest Head a short, sharpish walk will reward you with terrific views of Windermere and the surrounding fells from this south east corner of the lake. For the quickest ascent take the minor road off the A592 north of Newby Bridge - leading to Bowland Bridge and Cartmel Fell - and leave your car in the Forestry Commission car park which you reach a few minutes later. Walk up the road for a short distance and then turn in left to the fields where it’s signposted Gummer’s How. 

High Sweden Bridge near Ambleside. Less than two miles (3.2km) north of Ambleside is the old packhorse bridge over Scandale Beck called High Sweden Bridge. A path from Sweden Bridge Lane (just off Kirkstone Road) takes you all the way there. It’s a good three mile (4.8km) walk for those wanting a taste of the fells without too much exertion. Return to Ambleside on the west side of Scandale Beck via Low Sweden Bridge and Nook End Farm. 

Loughrigg Fell near Ambleside. North west of Ambleside is Loughrigg Fell, proof indeed that you don’t always to have to climb high to get the best views. It’s a wide fell, criss-crossed by numerous paths so you can wander around and pick your vantage point. Todd Crag on the south side has cracking views of Windermere - not far away is Lily Tarn - while to the north are Grasmere (lake) and Rydal Water. Loughrigg Terrace is a perfect viewing platform for Grasmere, Helm Crag and the Fairfield range. Loughrigg Tarn on the south west side looks towards Elterwater and Great Langdale. There are several different ways up to the fell: from Ambleside via Rothay Park and Miller Bridge (best for Todd Crag), from Red Bank or White Moss Common (for Loughrigg Terrace) or via Tarn Foot, just to the north of Skelwith Bridge (for Loughrigg Tarn). 

Orrest Head near Windermere. 20-25 minutes is all it takes to get one of the best views of Windermere, one that in 1931 changed Alfred Wainwright’s life for ever. He fell in love with this part of England and then some years later wrote his famous seven volume Pictorial Guides to the Lake District. A signed pathway to the left of the Windermere Hotel (just across from the station on the A591) leads up to Orrest Head where a view indicator points out the main fells you can see.  

Stockghyll Force at Ambleside. Ambleside’s well known waterfall is only a short walk from the town centre. Go up the lane behind the old Barclays Bank building and not long after turn left into some woodland where it’s signposted ‘to the waterfalls’. There’s a bridge across the top of the waterfall. 

Troutbeck. To the west of this historic village, a little network of tracks and bridleways takes you across to Windermere (lake). Nanny Lane, for instance, heads up to Wansfell Pike from where you can drop down into Ambleside, Robin Lane makes for Skelghyll Woods and Jenkyn’s Crag, Wain Lane goes south west towards Brockhole. On the other side of the valley, starting near Jesus Church, the Garburn Road provides a route into Kentmere. 

Wansfell Pike near Ambleside. One mile (1.6km) east of Ambleside is Wansfell Pike, a popular fell because of its fine views. The obvious route from the town is up past Stockghyll Force, followed by a steepish fellside climb to Wansfell. If you’ve got time and puff head further east, picking up Nanny Lane on your way into Troutbeck village. For a circular walk back to Ambleside leave Troutbeck along a lane by the village tearoom/shop which leads into Robin Lane and then later through Skelghyll Woods. A short detour takes you to Jenkyn’s Crag from where there are more wonderful views. Come back into Ambleside near Waterhead. Allow about 4-5 hours for the round trip. 

Western shore of Windermere. If you think Bowness is a bit too busy then take the ferry across the lake to Ferry House and head along the lake’s western side in the direction (north) of Belle Grange. A walk here gives you a completely different perspective on Windermere and good views across to the Fairfield range. The first part of the route is on a tarmac lane and it’s all pretty level. For a bit more of a challenge head up into Claife Heights at Belle Grange and come back at a higher level. You could also head on past Belle Grange towards Wray Castle. The castle is a National Trust property and so is Claife Viewing Station (close to Ferry House). The station’s courtyard café serves food and drinks. 

Whitbarrow. Thanks to its limestone pavements and the plants and wildlife that thrive on them, Whitbarrow is home to two national nature reserves, Howe Ridding Wood and the Hervey Memorial Reserve. There are a number of ways up, including the one from Beck Head, about one mile (1.6km) north of the A590 near Witherslack. Teas and coffees (and a small library) are available in an honesty barn at Beck Head called the Hiker’s Rest. On the western side of Whitbarrow are the limestone cliffs of Whitbarrow Scar. From the top at Lord’s Seat, beside the memorial to Canon GAK Hervey, founder of the Lake District Naturalists’ Trust (forerunner of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust), you’ll be lord of all you survey.

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